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Published Friday 31 May 2019
Tags:General, Media Release

Rate reduction on the cards for many farmers in Mitchell Shire

Large properties that are actively used for agricultural production will see an average rate reduction of 4.65 per cent in Mitchell Shire this year.

Smaller rural properties will see a slight change with an average 1.6 per cent increase.

Compared to general or residential properties, large agricultural properties will also continue to pay 20 per cent less, with smaller rural properties paying 10 per cent less.

The agricultural rate category applies to 701 rural properties who receive a 10 per cent reduction for properties sized 40 to 100 hectares and a 20 per cent reduction for properties larger than 100 hectares.

Rural rates facts

The lower rate level is used to help offset the larger contribution these properties would otherwise make based on the value of the property. It is intended to assist those who are farming their properties to continue to do so.

While property valuation data is still being finalised by the Valuer General’s Office across the state, preliminary data used to prepare Mitchell’s draft budget suggests most properties will receive a reduction or an increase under the 2.5 per cent rate cap.

In the small rural category, 47 per cent of properties will pay less and 78 per cent of properties will either decrease or increase at or below the 2.5 per cent rate cap.

In the large rural category, 44 per cent of properties will receive a decrease and 71 per cent will receive a decrease or an increase at or below the 2.5 per cent rate cap.

Quotes attributable to Mitchell Shire Mayor, Cr Bill Chisholm

“The current policy position of this Council is that rural properties that are actively used for agricultural production will receive a discount of 10 to 20 per cent compared to properties in the general land category.

“We’re mindful of this when we set the rates each year, but we are limited in how much we can adjust across our different categories. If you change one category, the other categories have to make up the difference.

“Properties need to be largely commercial in nature and seeking to make a profit, or have reasonable prospects of making a profit from the land in the future.

“We know our farmers are doing it tough through a very dry year. Recent media coverage suggesting that rural rates in Mitchell will increase on average by 13.55 per cent just isn’t true. This has caused undue stress and concern for many and we’re very disappointed that these figures are circulating.

“With property values shifting, particularly in the south of the shire, there will be some rural properties who face larger increases, but on the whole, most properties will go down or face an increase at or below the rate cap.”

Quotes attributable to Mitchell Shire Director Governance and Corporate Performance

“Changes in property valuations will directly impact how much each property pays in rates.

“One of the challenges with a rating system based on property value in an urban growth area is the increase in value that some agricultural properties are facing compared to other property values. This is particularly relevant in the south and on the outskirts of towns where demand for rural land is high.

“This year, the majority of rural agricultural properties will pay less in rates or will face an increase below the rate cap. A small number where the property value has increased by more than average will pay more.”